Published: January 28, 2003
By David S. Smith
GRAY, MAINE — Within the antiques community, Maine has long been known as a source, as a prime location, for quality accessories. So it was with little surprise that when John and Cia Sideli decided to liquidate their collection of nearly 500 prime accessories that the assortment appeared at the Maine auction gallery of James Cyr.
John Sideli, after more than three decades on the antiques show circuit, has long been highly regarded for his eclectic eye and vibrant offerings, something that this personal collection of smalls certainly expounded. The rdf_Descriptions were displayed at Cyr’s in appealing gallery-type settings, resembling a museum exhibition or antiques show booth more than that of an auction gallery. Sideli’s talent for marketing was certainly evident.
The auction offered a varied assortment of merchandise, including redware, early glass and bottles, primitives and a smattering of furniture that piqued the interests of a variety of collectors. Preview for the highly anticipated sale was heavy, according to the Cyr auction gallery, and those that waited till the morning of the auction to preview, found virtually every seat in the gallery reserved. Come sale time there was not an empty seat in the house and the large crowd was forced to stand either in the rear or on the side of the room.
As Jim Cyr finished with his announcements, he told the crowd, “This is a wonderful lot of goodies, I’m going to bite my tongue saying that this is my favorite rdf_Description; everything here is something to fall in love with.” With that said, Cyr offered up the first of the lots and it proved to be a foretelling sign of things to come. A wonderful scale model train constructed of brass, copper and other metals, measuring 25 inches in length, opened to the crowd at $1,000 and immediately got an opening bid.
Two telephone bidders competed with the room as the lot advanced rapidly in $500 increments to $6,500 where the next bid was cut to $250. The phone hit the lot at $6,750 and it bounced back and forth a couple more times until the lot sold in the room at $8,337. (Prices include the 15 percent buyer’s premium.)
The next lot offered, a country Queen Anne graduated four-drawer chest with notched-top in old red paint, also did well, selling to a buyer seated in the front of the room for $8,050. A red and black dovetailed blanket chest was up next and sold for $2,875, while a stately early cupboard with single paneled door in old gray paint followed at $5,750.
Despite the presale speech that Cyr had given just moments prior, he proclaimed lot 5, the Sheraton mirror with yellow grained columns and green, orange and red paint decorated turnings, to be one of his favorites. The mirror was bid actively, selling at $690; a large trade sign fountain pen, 18 inches in length, painted in salmon, gold and black, also did well bringing $805.
One of the star attractions from the smalls was a neat document box in the shape of Noah’s Ark that carried a provenance of having come from a lodge in Homer, N.Y. Substantial interest was expressed in the piece with it selling at $2,300 to a phone bidder. The following lot was a large Pease ware treen sugar bowl with cover and bail handle that measured eight inches in diameter. The robust form helped the piece to a selling price of $1,725.
Pantry boxes in paint performed extremely well with a three-inch box in red paint selling for $2,357; a Harvard oval finger pantry box in old gray paint, $2,012; a large round box in black paint with colorful painted compass decorated lid, $1,150;, a green painted fingered box, $1,042;, and a red box six inches in diameter realized $920. Other lots brought between $747 and $920.
Sold at $4,312 was a light infantry militia canteen in red, blue and gilt paint. A large selection of redware was offered with an ovoid covered pitcher in a light glaze with manganese and a greenish decoration attributed to the Essex, Mass., region selling at $5,462. A Merrimackport jug with yellow glaze and manganese decoration brought 2,875; a Massachusetts stew pot with cover, $2,875; a New Hampshire jar with green glaze and olive spots, $2,702; a large Connecticut redware jar with manganese decoration, $2,587; and a small creamer pitcher with traces of green and white slip was hammered down at $2,357.
A small step back cupboard in apple green went out at $6,900, while a Scandinavian drop leaf table in old white paint brought $6,325.
Game boards brought stunning prices with a folding checkers/Parcheesi board in salmon, blue, green, red and brown selling at $6,325, a large polychromed multicolored game wheel with spinning arrow 6,325, a small game board in green, red and white brought $3,450, and a paint decorated game wheel sold at $3,105.
A nice large turned burl bowl brought $2,242, a paint decorated covered basket $1,150, a trade sign for Dr Patten’s office $4,600, and a pastel thermo on sandpaper depicting fruit brought $2,875.
The highlight of the glassware offered came from a small collection of inks with a deep cobalt pontiled umbrella ink with hints of violet running through it selling at $2,587, a sapphire blue umbrella ink brought $1,955, while more common colored inks such as an amber example brought $230.
Prices include the 15 percent buyer’s premium charged.
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